Nepal, Trekking around Annapurna - the Jomsom side
Annapurna Circuit: on this page you will find information and pictures Tukuche
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62. Crossing the Kali Gandaki from Chokopani to Tukuche in the dry season.
There are three reasons why I do recommend this alternative. First Tukuche is an
impressive Thakali village and the perfect place to have a good lunch. You can cross again the river after Tukuche and join the main eastern NATT trail. Secondly,
you don’t have to ascend the entire 200 m and even with a sightseeing tour you will be nearly as fast. The last reason is that one can make a beautiful side trek on the
western side of the river, described later in a later chapter.
At the end of the village of Chokopani continue to the river. In the dry season the
people of Tukuche build small wooden bridges over the Kali Gandaki River as they will collect wood from the forest on the other side of the river. Some people of
Tukuche also have apple orchards in Chokopani. As the Kali Gandaki changes its riverbed every monsoon season the place for the wooden plank-bridges will also
change. Watch people crossing the river and look for footprints. It might be that you will also see some poles guiding you. I recommend crossing to Tukuche if there is a possibility.
Coming from Chokopani to the northern end of Tukuche
Have lunch in Tukuche or just make a sightseeing tour of this old Thakali village. Tukuche was the toll station for the salt trade with Tibet and you see still the large
houses used formerly as caravanserai. On the ground floor there was place for the animals and goods while the people stayed on the first floor. One can evaluate the
wealth of Tukuche by looking at the beautiful carved wooden windows. These days four of these old caravanserais are used as lodges and are definitively worth visiting.
Given that for hundreds of years the men were gone for many months of the year
on trading tours, often going with their caravans up to Tibet, it was common for the women to run “home” businesses like tea houses. Thakali women are therefore by
tradition very proud and self-reliant.
There are several newer lodges north of the old village centre along the road, which fortunately bypasses the old part.
When the road was built, investors built fancy new lodges in hopes of making lots of money. However, now there are far fewer people staying in Tukuche than before the road was built even though
there are three times more lodges. And the owners can wave at the buses passing by.
I always prefer to stay in one of the old lodges in the old village centre. Like Marpha
, Tukuche is right in the middle of the apple country so enjoy the many tasty pies! On the southern end near the river is the Tukuche Brandy distillery. I learned that
they don’t distil the apple brandy from fermented pure apple juice but use a lot of sugar where they add some apples. A visit is interesting.
One of the longest prayer wheel wall i have seen is in Tukuche. it is parallell to the
main street. The path connects the gompa and the tukuche apple distillery so it is part a perfect sight seeing tour.
In Tukuche you can again choose on which side of the river you prefer to trek.
Either you cross again the Kali Gandaki to the eastern trail or stay on the western side. On this side you will have to walk approximately two hours on the road to the
next village of Khobang but it gives you also the opportunity to visit beautiful villages like Khobang, Larjung and Naurikot and to make a side trip to two beautiful little
lakes with great mountain scenery.
In Sauru on the eastern trail side there are again during the dry season little
wooden bridgens over the Kali Gandaki so that you can join there the western trail again in Khobang and avoid the road.
Eastern NATT trail: Tukuche to Kalopani on the left (eastern) side of the Kali Gandaki in the dry season
Like on the north side the people build small wooden bridges to cross the Kali
Gandaki. Follow the blue/white NATT signs in the old village. Just before Sunil Lodge turn left to a little prayer wheel house and walk along the longest prayer
wheel wall I know. You will come to the Tukuche distillery where the famous Tukuche apple brandy is distilled. Pass a little gompa and continue on a trail with
stone walls on both sides which later turns down to the river. On the opposite riverside you will see two little houses in ruins. The trail over the Kali Gandaki will
somehow go to these houses. After climbing to the land turn right and follow a blue/white marked trail along the river. After 20 minutes you will rejoin the main red/white NATT 61 trail going to Sauru.
If you like to go tto the villages of Khobang, Larjung and Naurikot or visit the two
lakes or Dhaulagiri Icefall you can cross again the river in Sauru.
Overview Annapurna region
eastern trail to Khokethanti NATT 63 estern trail Tukuche - khobang - Larjung
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NATT- guidebook and maps